Album Review: Stone River Boys – Love On The Dial

Jim Caligiuri | June 2nd, 2010

stone-river-boysCalifornian Dave Gonzalez is best known as the guitarist for the roots-rocking Paladins and, with Chris Gaffney, as one half of the Hacienda Brothers–an act that combined country and soul into something sublime.

When cancer took Gaffney’s life in 2008, Gonzalez hooked up with Austinite Mike Barfield, the self titled “Tyrant of Texas Funk,” who is remembered among country fans for his days with the Hollisters. Together as the Stone River Boys, Gonzalez and Barfield have conjured what they call “country funk.”

A step beyond what the Haciendas accomplished, it’s a little more upbeat, and, with the help of primo steel guitarist Dave Biller and bassist Scott Esbeck (ex-Los Straitjackets) performed with a deft touch. Problems arise with the songwriting, handled primarily by Barfield, however. Some of the funk feels forced and the country weepers like “Forty Acres” don’t connect, primarily because Barfield usually over emotes.

Covers of Stephen Bruton’s “Bluebonnet Blue” and the 1968 Tyrone Davis hit “Can I Change My Mind” are better examples of what the Stone River Boys are about, though a atmospheric rendition of Gerry Goffin/Carole King tune “Take A Giant Step” (previously recorded by the Monkees and Taj Mahal), is rearranged beyond comprehension. As a whole, Love On The Dial is an interesting, yet flawed debut.

2.5 Stars

  1. Rick
    June 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Well at least Craig Shelburne likes one of the new songs from these guys! Here’s Craig’s latest list of new faves over at CMT.com:

    “Mix Tape,” Tift Merritt
    “The Open Door,” Darrell Scott
    “Smile at Me Again (demo),” Kris Kristofferson
    “El Dorado,” Jim Lauderdale
    “Bohemian Wedding Song,” Shannon McNally
    “Long Shadows,” Josh Ritter
    “Hail Hail,” Truth & Salvage Co.
    “Alone on the Weekends,” Yarn
    “When It’s Not With Me Everyday,” Cherryholmes
    “She Disappears,” Declan McGarry
    “Cherokee Shuffle,” James Alan Shelton
    “Used to These Old Bones,” Special Consensus
    “Same Ol’ Song and Dance,” Teea Goans
    “Royal Box Waltz,” John Hartford Stringband
    “Bluebonnet Blue,” Stone River Boys
    “Boy in a Uniform,” Rockie Lynne

    The one song in that list I want to track down is the cut by Teea Goans. Teea hosts the “In The Opry Circle” segment on WSM on Saturday nights following the first Opry show and she is about as country as a turnip truck! Teea has a nice, old school female country voice and style that works for me! Go Teea!

  2. Stormy
    June 2, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    I think she voted for Obama.

  3. Rick
    June 2, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Stormy, I’ll consider Teea politically innocent until she’s proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of being a “useful idiot” Obamavoter! (lol) Hey, you’re the one that brought it up! I was behaving myself today…

  4. Teea
    June 3, 2010 at 1:01 am

    You can find a sample of that cut on my website, http://www.teeagoans.com :)

  5. Paul W Dennis
    June 3, 2010 at 4:14 am

    Teea’s album is well worth purchasing. One of the highlights for me was that she does a killer version of the old ET classic “Walking The Floor Over You”

  6. Jeff
    June 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I couldn’t disagree more….it’s brilliant. I suppose you dislike Waylon too? It’s a real record recorded like a real record should be….

    P.S. Have a drink

  7. TJW
    August 6, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Dave Gonzales has produced a warm and organic sounding album and a, dare I say, groovy new sound that combines honky tonk with Stax, Motown, Philly and Muscle Shoals soul and funk. I don’t find the funk forced thanks largely to his supremely fluid guitar playing. The SRB’s live show is jaw dropping – do not miss them if they come to your town!!!.

  8. Steve Blazek
    October 3, 2010 at 10:20 am

    After reading your review I went back and listen to “Love on the dail” again, Love It!

  9. K-alico
    April 13, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    The SRB’s “Love on the Dial” is interesting. I never thought a country-soul-funk sandwich would taste so good. The first bite was different than the norm and certainly not what I expected. The mix of flavors made me curious and so I took in another but big bite. Then I thought of the makers of such a sandwich. Who would come up with such a trifecta of flavors other than those who love the taste so much themselves. So, after that delightful sandwich, I decided to make the SRBs sound a required food group that is one of the most desired and satisfying items on the menu. Some may think it’s an acquired taste but I’m pleased to have acquired it.

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